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August 4, 2013

10 Amazing Behind-the-Scenes Photos From the Making of the Film ‘Jaws’

On set with Spielberg, Dreyfuss, Bruce and some serious ’70s haircuts.

Robert Shaw takes in the rays with buddy Bruce the shark. Shaw famously only got the role after Lee Marvin turned it down and Sterling Hayden was stuck in Paris laden with tax burdens but from this perspective it is impossible to imagine anyone else doing the role. Some Quint facts: Shaw spent lots of time with Martha's Vineyard fisherman Craig Kingsbury (who played Ben Gardner in the film) to soak up his sea saltiness; his unique brand of Quintonomics — "I'll find him for three but I'll catch him and kill him for ten" — was written by John Milius; and in the schoolroom meeting, when exactly did Quint draw that shark in chalk on the blackboard?

Director's chair goes in the water. Director goes in the water. Our director…. Spielberg offered actress Ruth Gordon (Harold & Maude) the role of a rich woman who is carried down to the sea by her butler. Gordon turned it down because she was doing a play called…Dreyfuss In Rehearsal. Spooky.

Dreyfuss trades bite radiuses with the Tiger shark. Dreyfuss wasn't the first choice for Hooper — Spielberg had considered Cabaret's Joel Grey and Midnight Cowboy's Jon Voight. Dreyfuss was initially sniffy about the shark scientist until he saw his teen comedy The Apprenticeship Of Diddy Kravitz, thought it would flop, then quickly begged Spielberg for the part. Thank Christ he did. Dreyfuss becomes the perfect portrait of its director as a young man; nervous, wired, funny, confident, self deprecatory, giddy with excitement.

"Smile you son of a bitch." Roy Scheider shoots the shark and gets covered in water. The explosion of the shark was one of the last things shot. Spielberg didn't even hang around to see it completed. Fearing that he was going to be dunked by a mutinous crew, he fled to a Boston with a demob happy Richard Dreyfuss. Apparently their night got so raucous they were warned by the management for swearing.

Spielberg directs the Orca leaving Amity. Loosely based on Frank Mundus' boat Cricket, The production bought the boat and re-designed to reflect Quint's larger than life character with a crow's nest, a pulpit and a cabin. At the end of the shoot, the boat was sold to a crew member for $16,000. When the movie became a hit, Universal bought it back for $60,000 and included it in the studio tour. Spielberg has said he often used to sit in the Orca cabin during downtime for the attraction as a good place to think. When it was removed from the lot in 1996, he apparently went postal.

Spielberg lines up the infamous Dolly Zoom shot. "For the early scene where Brody's on beach guard duty, Steven and I talked about how he react if he saw something he thought was a shark," Roy Scheider told critic Nigel Andrews. "Then Steven used that double camera movement bringing the camera towards the famous face as the same time as the actor is on a chair moving towards the camera. (This is different from usual descriptions of the shot that suggests the camera tracks in and zooms out). It was perfect because it just magnified the horror on my face. The shot gives you that tremendous feeling of compression."

Spielberg, Dreyfuss and '70s-haired crew member hurry up and wade. Shooting beach scenes spread out over months with Spielberg and his unit shooting key scenes in winter, to the extent that the director had the so-crazy-it's- brilliant idea of decking out stunt people in flesh coloured wetsuits.

Spielberg directs traffic — at the intersection of Main and Water Streets on Martha's Vineyard. To stop going stir crazy on the small island, Spielberg requested Universal send them some movies to keep them entertained. When the studio sent them Spartacus and Ma And Pa Kettle Down On The Farm, Spielberg "reached out" to 20th Century Fox for some more up to date movies. Alan Ladd Jr., keen to woo Spielberg for projects down the line sent them fifteen films including The French Connection and Patton.

Bruce one and two were operated via an underwater platform that saw the shark run along a 70ft platform in a straight line supported by a crane-like arm — one Bruce went left to right, the other right to left. The whole thing was powered by compressed air to stop it shorting out. Each shark weighed 1.5 tons and cost $150,000 — a bargain when your film makes $470 million.

Bruce the third (the one that is pulled by a sled) is tucked up under wraps. The mechanical star lived in a 200ft by 75ft shed dubbed Shark City and was constantly being papped by both journos and public alike. The shark's skin was made of Lasmer, a liquid plastic, which was treated with silica sand to give it a rough-hewn feel. It had to be replaced on a weekly basis due sea salt corrosion.

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